The FIA’s recent announcement that drivers will need to seek the FIA’s permission before expressing their personal, religious, or political views has led to speculations about its potential impact on Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton. Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has spoken about this decision and how it may affect Hamilton in interviews with multiple media outlets.
Wolff clarified that he had not yet spoken to Hamilton about the FIA’s decision as the driver is still in his off-season. However, he emphasized the importance of shielding Hamilton from F1 and stated that they would approach the issue with a positive mindset once Hamilton is back.
While discussing the FIA’s announcement, Wolff stressed the importance of finding a balance between politics and sports, saying, “We understand that sports are here to not make politics, but on the contrary, unite.” He also expressed confidence in FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s ability to resolve any disagreements amicably.
“I have no doubt that Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the FIA mean well to achieve the right things,” Wolff stated. “It’s just about aligning that with drivers that have been more outspoken in the past.”
Wolff’s comments suggest that Mercedes will tread carefully when it comes to political statements from their driver. Hamilton has been an active voice in various social and political issues in recent years, often using his platform to bring attention to causes he is passionate about.
However, Wolff remained optimistic about the situation, citing past positive conversations between Hamilton and Ben Sulayem. “Every time, I know when Mohammed has spoken to Lewis and the other way around, it has ended up in a positive conversation,” he said.
The FIA’s decision has received mixed reactions, with some supporting the move as necessary to maintain the neutrality of the sport, while others see it as an infringement of free speech. Regardless, it remains to be seen how this will play out in the upcoming F1 season and what impact it may have on Hamilton and other drivers who have been outspoken in the past.